Roderick Long left this comment on his own blog post on the Atlas Shrugged film-
P.S. As a corrective to Rand’s monochrome world, they’re making Eddie Willers black. Peikoff had previously suggested making Cherryl Brooks black. But those are both relatively weak characters; I’d always wanted to make Ellis Wyatt black, though others have done me one better.
It’s been a while since I read AS. But I am quite sure that there are just two people in the book who are not white Americans, Francisco D’Anconia and Ragnar Danneskjold, at least that’s how I imagined the characters. Hollywood is well known for its tokenism which has its roots in political correctness, which is why I didn’t want this book, if it was ever filmed, to be “re-imagined”—needlessly tampering with the story by introducing the token black guy, the token asian, the token homosexual etc etc.
But Willers is different. As far as I am concerned, he is a central character. He represents, in the Randian world of producers and moochers, someone who may not be capable of inventing a motor that runs on air, or a wonder metal, or performing unbelievable feats of engineering, but who knows how to manage these things once they come into existence. He may not be a producer, but he is by no means a moocher. Which makes what befell him that much more tragic. He simply loses the will to live-
“It’s still Taggart Transcontinental. I’ll stand by it. Dagny, wherever you go, you’ll always be able to build a railroad. I couldn’t. I don’t even want to make a new start. Not any more. Not after what I’ve seen. You should. I can’t. Let me do what I can.”
Would be interesting to see how Gathegi plays him, and how much screen time they give him.